Join us on this unique collaborative venture to explore how the principles of sacred geometry manifest themselves in the magical Scottish landscapes and designs.
This 10-day creative experience combines exploring different locations on the stunning West Coast of Scotland with multi-day workshops led by two accomplished artist-tutors – Melissa Hilliard Potter and Reni Gower. Presented with a hands-on approach, workshops fuse the materials and processes used by the artists through a shared theme at the core of their artwork: Sacred Geometry revealed through nature.
With an overview on plant-based art practices and the principles of sacred geometry, we will use observational and foraging techniques to discover the universal ratios imbedded in plants and botanical-inspired imagery in both natural and constructed settings. In our studio base in Inverary we will use this inspiration to create prints and collages with stencils and gelli plates.
Your experience starts in the city of Glasgow with a warm welcome, drink and dinner followed next day by an exploration of the city including a private tour at Mackintosh at the Willow where we’ll learn how the shapes of flowers influenced the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald. Later that day we travel to Inverary, an old garrison town in the heart of Argyll, which is our base for the rest of the trip.
Argyll’s spectacular landscape feature Neolithic and Bronze Age remains and provide an inspirational backdrop for in situ sketching and photo recording. Using these as source material, Reni and Melissa will guide you to develop your personal motifs and decorative papers from direct contact printing, mono-printing using a gelli plate, stencilling and collage..
Excursion sites are selected to highlight the distinct neolithic history of the region as well as the natural beauty and importance of the local biosphere (flowers, grasses, trees, and lichens). The tutors’ own work, which they will introduce in informal talks, is foundational to the workshop and they will offer examples throughout the course.
On one of the studio days local artist Shirley Torrance will join us for a half-day workshop session where you will be introduced to eco-printing on paper, a form of direct contact printing using plant dyes and a natural mordant.
This entire workshop experience presents a relaxed balance between concept, process, and history through creative techniques that encourage focused mindfulness, peaceful contemplation, and thoughtful engagement.
(Image source: Mackintosh at the Willow)
Here’s the prospective itinerary in summary:
Day 1 – Arrival at hotel in Glasgow. Welcome drink and dinner. Introduction to the experience.
Day 2 – Private tour, exhibition and afternoon tea at Mackintosh at the Willow in Glasgow. Free afternoon. Travel to Inverary.
Day 3 – Morning in the studio. Visit to Inverary Castle and Gardens in the afternoon, followed by more studio time.
Day 4 – Studio day
Day 5 – Excursion to Kilmartin Glen and Kilmartin Museum. Dunadd Fort. Visit to local artist studio.
Day 6 – Studio day, including plant dye workshop with guest tutor Shirley Torrance.
Day 7 – Morning excursion (location tbc), studio afternoon. Evening session with traditional Scottish music.
Day 8 – Excursion to Isle of Seil and An Cala Garden.
Day 9 – Studio day, review session and exhibition of works.
Day 10 – Return to Glasgow and departure.
“Art is the flower. Life is the green leaf.” – Charles Rennie Mackintosh
We are delighted to work with two outstanding guest tutors on this creative experience. Independently and collectively, Reni and Melissa have taught workshops throughout the United States, as well as in the Middle East, Central America, South Europe, and the Caucasus.
Reni Gower received a 2023 Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship for Works on Paper and a 2020 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Other awards include a SECAC Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement, the College Art Association’s Distinguished Teacher of Art Award, as well as distinguished teaching awards from Virginia Commonwealth University and VCUarts. Her art work is represented in many prestigious collections and has been exhibited at international and national venues for over 40 years. In addition to her painting practice, she curates award winning traveling exhibitions that include COLLECTive Concerns: Collage and Assemblage; The Garden; FLASHPOINTS: Material / Intent / Fused, Geometric Aljamía: a Cultural Transliteration, and Pulped Under Pressure: The Art of Handmade Paper. After 37 years, Professor Emerita Gower retired from Virginia Commonwealth University in December 2018. Gower is represented by Chroma Projects, Charlottesville, VA. renigower.com
Melissa Hilliard Potter is a feminist interdisciplinary artist, writer, and curator whose work has been exhibited in venues including White Columns, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, to name a few. Her films have been screened at international film festivals, such as the Cinneffable and the Reeling International LGBT Film Festival. Potter’s awards include three Fulbright Scholar grants, which enabled her to build two papermaking studios at university art departments in Serbia and Bosnia & Hercegovina. As a curator, Potter’s exhibitions include Social Paper: Hand Papermaking in the Context of Socially Engaged Art with Jessica Cochran and Revolution at Point Zero: Feminist Social Practice with Neysa Page Lieberman. Her critical essays have been printed in BOMB, Art Papers, Flash Art, Metropolis M, Hand Papermaking, and AfterImage among others. She currently serves as a Professor at Columbia College Chicago. melpotter.com
After the welcome night at a 4-star hotel in the centre of Glasgow our base is the traditional county town of Inverary on shores of Loch Fyne in Argyll. Inverary is the ancestral home of the Clan Campbell and Dukes of Argyll, which still have their seat at Inverary Castle. The town offers an array of independent shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants.
Our comfortable accommodation is at the Inverary Inn, an over 250 year old family run hotel overlooking Loch Fyne. All bedrooms are en-suite. Please note that this heritage building has no lift and most of the bedrooms are accessed via an original spiral staircase.
The cost of this trip is £3240 per person (shared room), plus £500 to have a room to yourself. It includes:
– 1 night en-suite accommodation in Glasgow
– 8 nights en-suite accommodation in Inverary
– Daily programme of art tuition, talks & tours (2 tutors plus guest tutor)
– 9 breakfasts
– Welcome drinks and welcome dinner on first night in Glasgow
– Dinner on first night in Inverary
– Farewell dinner on last night
– Private tour, exhibition visit and afternoon tea at Mackintosh at the Willow in Glasgow
– Musical evening performed by local musicians
– Minibus transport when travelling as a group
– Workshop materials kit and use of equipment
– Studio hire fees
– Entry fee for Inverary Castle & Gardens
– Entry fee to and private tour at Kilmartin Museum
– Wild at Art canvas bag
– Detailed pre-travel information by email.
A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required at the time of booking, the rest is due 10 weeks before the start date. With the detailed pre-travel info we will also send you list of recommended things to bring, such as suitable outdoor clothing.
While workshop materials will be provided we encourage participants to bring collage materials of their choice; i.e. maps, letters, ledgers, lists – any manner of vintage, recycled, or decorative papers.
Please note: This tour involves some moderate walking, which means a certain level of mobility is required.
The above itinerary is based on careful selection of suppliers and is accurate at the time of publication. But should it be necessary, Wild at Art reserves the right to make changes.
Flights and travel to/from Glasgow are not included. Personal travel insurance is required.